The relaunch of God of War was successful, and some even consider the game to be the best representative of the series. Such a scenario can be considered the exception rather than the rule.
Most often, instead of breathing new life into it, reboots finally bury the series, leaving an unpleasant aftertaste. Sometimes the developers, despite their positive intentions, simply fail to repeat the «same thing» that once allowed them to get the attention of the players.
Space Raiders (2002)
There are few players who have not played at least once in Space Invaders. This classic game features a minimal set of gameplay, but even now the game is ported to modern platforms almost unchanged.
Even fewer people play or even know about the existence of a remake called Space Raiders, released on the GameCube and PlayStation 2. It is not known who had the idea to recreate the legendary title in 3D and fill the new version with modern clichés, but the Japanese company Taito decided undertake its implementation.
The action of the game from the vast space was transferred to the city streets, and the protagonist’s starship was replaced with one of three characters: a teenager, a policeman, and a photographer girl. Wrap it all up in mediocre graphics and bombastic music, and Space Raiders is ready.
Sonic the Hedgehog (2006)
Sonic the Hedgehog in 2006 became a kind of symbol of the failed reboot of the franchise, which probably everyone already knows about. It is not for nothing that Angry Video Game Nerd devoted two whole episodes of his show to this game, and there is little to add to his review.
After the unsuccessful experiment with Shadow the Hedgehog in 2005, fans hoped that the new Sonic would return everything to the way it was in better times. In fact, the game has won all the most unenviable awards from «Disappointment of the Year» and «Worst Game in the Series», to a candidate for «The Worst Game in the History of the Industry».
The public had much to complain about. Long loading screens and boring levels, «the worst camera in the history of video games» that doubles the difficulty, objectively weak cutscenes and dubious voice acting of the characters. Finally, one cannot forget the unexpected romantic episode between Sonic and the human princess Alice.
By the way, it was this princess of the city of Soleanna who was kidnapped by a time-traveling demon. Now Sonic needs to go in search of her, and at the same time save the world from the apocalypse.
Sonic the Hedgehog, in fact, became popular due to its shortcomings and especially glitches, which gave rise to more than one let’s play on youtube, which, in turn, again adds to the game’s fame.
It can hardly be said that Sonic the Hedgehog greatly harmed the franchise, much less destroyed it. However, a new generation of gamers will likely want to experience the series through modern titles, and may misunderstand the line that once rivaled Mario.
Luckily, 2017 saw the release of the 2D platformer Sonic Mania, which became successful by returning to the fundamental mechanics of the series.
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was released in 1997 for Nintendo 64 and Windows, and invited the player to plunge into the prehistoric period, and in the role of the Indian Turok to resist aliens and dinosaurs, while traveling through time. In addition to the addictive gameplay, which was a mixture of shooter and adventure, the game was very different from other N64 titles, which had much less violence.
Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was a success that allowed the developers to release four more sequels in the following years, not to mention releases on the Game Boy. Then came a six-year hiatus, during which the developers seem to have forgotten what made the series popular.
The new Turok of 2008 boasted excellent graphics and animation of monsters, as well as amusing multiplayer, but this was not enough for fans of the series. They didn’t like that the other protagonist, also named Turok, leads the player through a weak storyline through boring levels and fights enemies with poor AI in their heads.
Although the game made a solid profit for the developers, the mainline’s withdrawal soon took its toll, and Turok 6 was canceled in the midst of development.
Golden Axe: Beast Rider (2008)
On the one hand, it’s understandable why developers might want to bring back a series like Golden Ax. Previously, such epic adventures were fueled by the imagination of the players and thoughts a la “what would it look like in reality”. That’s just one graphics in the restart will not do, and the excitingly built gameplay in a 2D game will not be reborn into 3D by itself. Of course, you can fill the game with references to the legendary series, but the game itself will have to be invented anew.
After the release of Golden Ax III in 1993, which was rather coldly received by the public, it was decided not to continue the series. After 15 years, Sega decided it was time for a reboot and brought the line back to life with Golden Ax: Beast Rider.
First of all, we must remember that Golden Ax was a representative of the beat ’em up genre in the fantasy world, and monotonous gameplay with its own chips has always worked perfectly in this genre. In other genres — not always.
Developers from Secret Level did not agree with this and presented Beast Rider with too simple combat, as well as a mountain of monotonous mobs that need to be monotonously exterminated level by level.
The game was not saved even by the fact that for its content it received a rating of «Over 17».
Alone in the Dark (2008)
The Alone in the Dark series, a pioneer of the survival horror genre, has been silent for seven years, unless, of course, you count the film of the same name by Uwe Boll, released in 2005. In 2008, Atari decided to give the series a big-budget comeback, completely reversing the line’s familiar concept to fans.
In fact, the developers tried to implement a lot of interesting ideas in the game, but it was the implementation that let them down. If in the first games you wandered around the mansion and solved riddles, fighting off monsters, then here the puzzles were thrown into the background, and the action was put in the first place.
Alone in the Dark moved from Derceto’s mansion to the city, and at some points the player was even allowed to drive a car, which, nevertheless, they forgot to provide with sane physics.
The game tried its best to be a fun action adventure game with a mystery story and an emphasis on realism, but ended up being scolded for every one of those elements.
Despite flirting with the episodic, Alone in the Dark seemed to the public too linear. The excellent graphics and effects couldn’t make up for the control issues and poor level design. The last straw was the abundance of bugs, which finally finished off the skeptical players.
Interestingly, after a number of European portals gave the game a low or average rating, Atari threatened them with a lawsuit and demanded that negative reviews be removed, due to the fact that, according to the company, they did not meet generally accepted standards.
In the same year, a PS3 version called Alone in the Dark: Inferno was released, which corrected a number of shortcomings in the original game.
Before game designer Will Wright released the unique The Sims in 2002, he became famous in the industry as the author of SimCity, in which the player could build the city of his dreams. As with The Sims, each new installment in the series has been better than the last, but after SimCity 4, developer Maxis decided to slow down with licensed installments and bring SimCity to platforms like the Nintendo DS.
In 2013 comes what fans of the line have been dreaming of for a long time — SimCity in 3D. By this time, the developers have managed to warm up the expectations of the players well, promising the opportunity to rebuild not just cities, but regions, not to mention the multiplayer mode.
After the release of SimCity, players found to their amazement that they could not play without a constant Internet connection. In addition, the game’s servers were constantly crashing, and SimCity itself showed glitches one after another.
The gaming community was furious, and someone named Ryan Lashley created an online petition, according to which the players demanded that the mandatory Internet connection for a single company be removed from the game. The petition was supported by about 80 thousand people.
Not only did EA finally satisfy the demands of the players, the company even arranged a free distribution of its games to everyone who bought SimCity.
Dungeon Keeper (2014)
In 1997, Peter Molyneux released a game in his signature style called Dungeon Keeper. In it, the player with the help of a giant hand controlled the caves of the devil and forced the demons to do evil as productively as possible.
Shortly before the release of the game, Molyneux’s company, Bullfrog Productions, was bought by EA, which was not interested in continuing the series after the departure of the game designer in the same 1997. 15 years later, having dug up Dungeon Keeper in their warehouse of intellectual property, EA decided to play on the nostalgia of the players and released … game for phones.
Fans were ready to forgive the cartoony graphics, but mobile phones were not chosen as a platform by chance. The new Dungeon Keeper was developed with an emphasis on monetization, and quite aggressive when compared with similar titles. As a result, only those who do not mind either money or time can play it, given that in the “free” mode, each action drags on indefinitely.
The original Thief: The Dark Project was released by Looking Glass Studios in 1998 with input from Bioshock’s creator Kevin Levin. The game became a canon for the stealth genre, as did its two subsequent installments. The series reached its peak in 2004 with Thief: Deadly Shadows and fell silent until the release of Thief in 2014.
It should be noted right away that Thief, of course, cannot be put on a par with such failures as Golden Ax: Beast Rider. This is a pretty strong and interesting game, and moderately positive reviews from critics confirm this. Another thing is that it was clear in advance how fans of the genre and the series itself would evaluate this title. In such situations, they take a monocle and smash to smithereens everything that cannot become a masterpiece that overshadows the previous parts of the line.
In the case of Thief, in fact, they did just that, dismantling the game into many dubious pieces. Basically, the title was scolded for the linear plot and the city built for it, the weak AI of the opponents, and the meager selection of weapons. The situation was not saved even by the significant return of the main character Garrett, whose new voice acting also did not please the fans of the classics.
The fate of some of the titles listed above could have turned out better if they had not carried the legacy of past parts on their shoulders. In addition, the more time the series is silent, the more difficult it is to return it, because the industry never stands still. Of course, there are quite a few positive examples among the relaunches of video game lines, but there are still many more negative ones.